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Andy Reid, Graham Eardely and Matthew Leavis preview their Kilimanjaro expedition

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author: Jamal Niaz
Morson ProjectsGraham Eardley and Morson Training’s Matthew Leavis will be climbing Kilimanjaro alongside Andy Reid MBE later this year to raise funds for The Standing Tall Foundation. The funds raised will go towards the free mental health support and drug and alcohol support that the foundation provides.

The trip is also significant as it takes place on the 13th anniversary of the day veteran Andy suffered life-changing injuries in Afghanistan.

Graham recently spoke with Andy about his preparation for the upcoming climb, including a trip to Snowden and a recent trip to Everest Base Camp! Alongside the fundraising aspect of the trip, Graham shared the main reasons he decided to get involved with the expedition:

 “It’s the biggest freestanding mountain in the world, so the challenge is immense. I’ve always enjoyed walking, so when I met with Andy and the opportunity arose to climb Kilimanjaro for a charity like The Standing Tall foundation, it just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss!”

Kilimanjaro climb

Graham also discussed how his incredible trip to Everest Base Camp has prepared him for the challenges he’ll face when climbing Kilimanjaro:

“I recently got back from Everest base camp, so that was my training started. I got through the 13-day trek reasonably well, but it made me realise how much of a challenge Kili’s going to be. We reached a peak of 5600 metres, whereas Kili is about 5800/5900 metres. Those extra couple of hundred metres are going to make a big difference!”

He continued:

“I was fortunate enough that I didn’t suffer with headaches from the altitude, but I did notice the lack of oxygen. The concentration required to walk over some of the big boulders was quite draining. It felt like I’d already done a day’s worth of climbing in just a couple of hours.”

Part of Matt’s preparation for Kili was taking part in the Born Survivor assault course alongside other members of the Morson Training team. It consisted of 30 gruelling obstacles on a 10km muddy course designed by the Royal Marine Commandos:

“It was a great event and it was great to see other representatives from the Standing Tall foundation there. Everyone took it at their own pace and there were loads of people that had never done it before. We all worked together as a team. That was one thing that I loved and I can see that transferring over to Kili. You do it together, no matter what challenges you face, you help everybody get over the obstacle."

Kilimanjaro climb

Working together as a team and having the wider group climbing the mountain as a support system will be key to making the climb as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Graham too highlighted the importance of teamwork and togetherness on a journey like this:

“Snowdon was a good day out, meeting the rest of the team and getting to know each other. We learned what we’re good at, how to support each other, and things like that. Once everyone’s up there, you want to reflect on what you’ve done. It’s going to be an immense feeling. Sensing what you’ve achieved, seeing the sunrise at the peak and you’re going to feel very proud of yourself and what everyone’s achieved. Everyone will be hugging each other and will have a real sense of togetherness.”

Matt gave an update on where he is in terms of his fundraising for the climb:

“We had a minimum requirement that we all have to commit to, we hit that last year. With the event that we held in September, we managed to hit the target in one go. I’m hoping to raise between six and ten thousand pounds personally which is going to be hard work. We’ve got a few events coming up and Born Survivor has really helped with that”

Andy Reid gave an insight into how his recent walk up Mount Snowdon has prepared him for Kilimanjaro and the challenges it will bring:

“As you know I’ve done it before, so mentally I know where I need to be at, but physically, it’s going to be a different challenge. Doing the Snowdon trip, it was hard work and I realised the impact the heat is going to have. I think it was about 16,17 degrees that day, quite a warm day, and I could probably go around 300 metres before I had to stop and take my legs off, give them a wipe to get rid of all the sweat and then go again. So, when we’re talking about Kili, one of the days is going to be 5K in one day. There’s going to be a lot of stopping and starting. If I don’t wipe the sweat off my leg, then I might get sores which could be detrimental to the whole challenge”

We look forward to following Andy, Graham, Matt and the rest of the Kili climbers’ preparation ahead of their trip, you can support climbers by donating to Graham and Andy’s fundraising pages.